A Arkansas school district already equipped with a state-of-the-art security system is now taking it a step further.
The changes come in the middle of construction for the new Jacksonville High School.
When it’s your job to protect the inside from the out, you don’t take any chances.
“We feel like we need them,” says Chris Oldham, Security Coordinator Jacksonville/North Pulaski County School District. “We’re going to continue to expand it.”
Providing safety for students and staff means watching every angle.
“We got cameras on both ends, so if somebody comes in these doors, either one of these doors, they’re being recorded,” Oldham explains.
Jacksonville High School has about 175 cameras now. Students we talked with say it makes them feel safe.
“School should be an environment where you should feel secured and you’re not worried about things,” says Gemmalyn Villegas, student.
“Definitely, I feel safe,” adds Justus Tate, student.
The district is in the middle of constructing two new schools, one of which is a new high school.
Oldham says the district will go from those 175 cameras to 250.
“We put them in every classroom, every hallway, every door entrance,” he continues.
“I enjoy having the cameras there, not because I enjoy being watched but I know if something were to happen I can kind of leverage the fact there are cameras rolling,” adds Tate.
Bulletproof glass will be installed near the main entrance. The parking lot will have controlled access gates.
“We’re doing it because it needs to be done. We don’t have a choice anymore. If we’re going to protect our kids this is what we have to do,” Oldham says. “Intruders will not be welcomed on any campus in this district. “
Construction on the new high school is expected to finish in 2019. The new elementary school will be wrapped up this year.
Oldham says every elementary and middle school will have cameras installed in hallways and classrooms within the next two years.
The school is working to put together exact cost amounts and those should be available soon.